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8 Pennsylvania Town Names That Will Make You Blush

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By Patrick Berkery

August 15, 2022

The commonwealth has some town names that are decidedly R-rated.

Is it just us, or does Pennsylvania seem like it has more R-rated town names than any other state?

Visitors from out of state must think the forefathers who named our towns were a little freaky, or that maybe towns like Blue Ball were named by 14-year-old boys.

Let’s find out a little more about Pennsylvania’s suggestive town names.

Beaver

According to the Beaver County website, the town name of Beaver was chosen because it had already been laid out by surveyor Daniel Leet eight years before the establishment of the county. Beaver was considered an ideal location for a town because of its location at the confluence of the Beaver and Ohio Rivers.

Big Beaver

Again from the county website, it had to do with dividing up already established South Beaver Township after residents complained it was getting too large. South Beaver Township was first divided in 1802 into three townships: Little Beaver, Big Beaver, and South Beaver Townships.

Bird-in-Hand

According to the Bird-in-Hand website, the Lancaster County town’s name comes from the saying “a bird in the hand is worth two in the bush.” Two men were surveying a road between Philadelphia and Lancaster and were in need of a place to stay. They found a humble inn, quoted that saying, and stayed the night. The inn became known as “The Bird-in-Hand,” giving the town its name. 

Blue Ball

According WGAL TV, Blue Ball also gets its name from an inn. The Lancaster County town is named after an 18th century inn, located in the town. The owner hung a blue ball on the building, referring to the inn as “The Sign of the Blue Ball.” If only they knew.

Climax

Located in Clarion County, Climax was once a mining community. Aside from that, information is scarce on the town’s early days, especially involving the origin of its name. 

Intercourse

Intercourse Heritage Days cites a few existing theories behind the name of this Lancaster County (seriously, what’s up with these Lancaster County town names?) town. One involves an old race track named Entercourse that some believe changed to Intercourse over time, eventually becoming the town name in 1814. The second theory stems from the two roads that intersected in the town — one running east and west from Philadelphia to Pittsburgh and one running from Erie to Wilmington. Because of these roads, the town was originally called Cross Keys, and may have eventually become Intercourse. The third theory concerns the language used during the town’s early days, when the word “intercourse” described comradery. 

Rough and Ready

A bunch of theories exist on how Rough and Ready, located in Schuylkill County, got its name. Many of them trace the name to the California gold rush of the mid-1800s. Apparently, Rough-and-Ready was named after the mining town of Rough-and-Ready, California.

Virginville

Some believe this Berks County town derived its name from the virgin forests that existed in the area when the town was founded. Others say it is the English translation of a Native American word.

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